Wednesday, June 18, 2008


While I'm away, C. had provided us with another well done guest blog.

I’ve got a couple of friends who are searching desperately for peace in life, so naturally I try to share with them where I find my peace. (OK, by “share” I mean “argue”.) Pope John Paul II said that some Christians, even today, die for the Faith, but that most Christians are asked to suffer a white martyrdom of being misunderstood. I discovered this week that my friends both misunderstand one of the most basic things about being a Catholic: it’s hard!

A few months ago when “Bob” and I were talking about finding joy in life, I revealed to him that, even though it brings me joy, I don’t WANT to do volunteer work. He looked at me slack jawed as if I were some kind of lunatic. Why would ANYONE do something they don’t WANT to do?

This week I pointed out to him that every year he believes something completely different and contradictory, as if he were constantly laying down tracks, then ripping them up. He proudly proclaimed that, yes, he does rip up his tracks, and that the trick is to keep trying different beliefs until you find one that make you “comfortable”. I of course responded, no, no, no! The only reason to believe anything is because it’s true! I told him I believe things I don’t want to believe and do things I don’t want to do because the truth demands it. Well, that struck him silent, and it suddenly dawned on me: he thinks I’ve been trying all this time to convince him of my OPINION. Yikes!

When I was talking to “Jen” over lunch last week I told her the same thing, that I don’t want to believe everything I believe, and she was incredulous too! Name one thing you don’t want to believe, she accused! How about that I have to obey all Ten Commandments? Or that there is a Hell? Or that I have to love my enemies? Or that I have to speak up against abortion, or contraception, or pornography? Do they think I enjoy confrontation?

I do things I don’t want to do for this simple reason: Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me. How can I neglect my neighbor when God has been so merciful to me? (I’ve got news for Bob. I don’t WANT to help him with his sad, distressing problems either.)

I believe things I don’t want to believe because those things are true. I have as much freedom to ignore the truth as I do to say I don’t believe in gravity and then walk off a cliff.

We Christians are running the race and fighting the good fight. Do people who want to win a race try to make themselves “comfortable”? Do soldiers go into battle for a good time? Obviously not. The medals go to the people who trained and sacrificed, who denied themselves and put themselves on the line.

Perhaps my friends thought because I always seem so happy, it means I am always comfortable. It’s one of the paradoxes of the Faith that you can walk around with a thousand daggers in your heart and still have a reason to smile. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the joy.

Doing what’s right usually requires courage. If you aren’t even sure what “good” is, then how can you do it, especially when you are afraid? That’s why I’m so grateful for my Faith. Unlike Bob, my “tracks” are permanent, I know where they came from, and I know where they lead. I know that my Faith will always point in the direction of what is good, true, and beautiful.

Catholicism is about Truth and Truth makes demands. Living the life of a Catholic is challenging, especially today, but life also becomes incomparably beautiful. I wouldn’t trade peace like this for anything else the world has to offer.


Anonymous said...

Amen, honest, and well said!


Anonymous said...

So true. So many lines jumped out at me, but the one that made me laugh was, "I’ve got news for Bob. I don’t WANT to help him with his sad, distressing problems either." It's so true. I don't want to help "Bob" either! But that's part of our calling.


Anonymous said...

I'm with raven-smiles...that light made me lol!

And you're right...we still do it because that is what God has asked us to do, and we do it joyfully. (Although honestly I often have to work on the "joyfully" part, ashamed to say.)